Earth Day 2018: learn about e-waste and how to help reduce its impact on our environment

Let’s celebrate Earth Day! To help you get in the spirit of Earth Day, we’d like to shed some light on the impact of e-waste!

E-waste is a bummer.

Did you know discarded electronics, otherwise known as “e-waste“, is the fastest growing waste stream on the planet? Now, take a guess at which country produces the largest amount of e-waste in the world. If you guessed the U.S., ding-ding-ding, you’re right. Our piles of tossed gadgets are the largest source of toxic metals in landfills, which needless to say harms our environment. To get a better idea of what we mean, in 2014 the U.S. churned out 11 million tons of e-waste! So what happens to our discarded tech? Just 12.5% of e-waste gets recycled, while the rest ends up incinerated or in landfills. Kind of a bummer, right?

Are you surprised?

It’s no surprise we produce so much e-waste. Think about the constant stream of new tech that keeps coming out. There have been fourteen – yes thats right – fourteen iPhone models released since 2007, which might explain why Americans generally hang onto their iPhones for a mere 18 months before upgrading to a newer model; thats 150 million abandoned iPhones every year. And thats just in the U.S.!

Reduce the impact!

  1.  At BiR, we’re pretty fond of mother nature, so in honor of Earth Day, we’d like to share 3 ways you can help reduce the impact of e-waste on our environment.

1. Recycle old or unused tech

Even though it’s first on our list, recycling should be a last resort option, believe it or not. This is because electronics recycling is quite costly, and often times creates even more pollution (ie: methane emissions from recycling factories – oh the irony!). But if you’re choosing between the trash bin or recycling center, opt for recycling.

Where to recycle:
Beyond the Bin Recycling Directory – check out the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection direct. Type in your electronic device and it’ll show you local recycling sites.
– Earth 911 – here you can locate nationwide recycling centers

If you’re looking to recycle for a cause:
BARCC (Boston Area Rape and Crisis Center) – this organization accepts phone donations, sends them to a company to be refurbished, and uses reimbursement towards their mission to assist survivors, and their families.
Dell & GoodWill’s Reconnect Program – for donating computers (they accept all brands)
Secure the Call – this program gets cell phones to people in need so they can call for help in the event of an emergency

2. Resell or trade in old devices

Gazelle is a popular platform for selling, and buying used smartphones and other electronics. You can also try your luck on Craigslist or Ebay.

3. Opt for Repair

The greenest thing you can do is keep the device you have! With proper maintenance, your device can last years. If your computer seems a bit slow, you can always opt for an upgrade. Does your abandoned phone run out of juice too fast? A battery replacement might be all that’s needed. Opting to repair or replace faulty parts saves you money, and is a great way to keep our planet happy.